Museum of the Dog returns to New York City after 32 years

The AKC Museum of the Dog opened its doors to the public with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, Feb, 8.
The AKC Museum of the Dog opened its doors to the public with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, Feb, 8. Photo Credit: AFP / Getty Images / Kena Betancur

An entire art museum dedicated to dogs is back in the city after 32 years away, bringing a pack of painted floppy ears, wagging tails and grinning faces along with it.

The AKC Museum of the Dog, which was open from 1982 to 1986 at the New York Life Building and housed one of the largest collections of dog art in the world, returned on Park Avenue in midtown on Feb. 8. It had spent 32 years in St. Louis.

For its Manhattan reincarnation, the collection is updated with interactive exhibits, like a “Find Your Match” kiosk that asks you to say “woof” and take takes your photo to match you with the AKC-registered dog breed that is most like you (this reporter got the Australian Terrier) and a “Meet the Breeds” touch screen where you can explore different breeds’ features, traits and histories.

For kids, there is a tour guide app with a virtual dog named Arty that will take them through the museum.

The newly designed space at 101 Park Ave., which is where the American Kennel Club has its headquarters, displays art (paintings, figurines, sculptures and rare pieces) from famous dog artists, including Sir Edwin Landseer (Queen Victoria’s favorite painter), Maud Earl and others, across two floors.

The museum has a 2,000-year-old paw print, a 30 million-year-old fossil of a dog (the ancient hesperocyon), a bronze sculpture of Sgt. Stubby who served in WWI, a giant wire dog sculpture hanging over AKC’s filing studio, hundreds of bronze and glass figurines and educational material about breeding, dogs with jobs and more accessed on giant screens.

There’s even a digital Labrador puppy, Molly, you can pet, feed and throw a ball to by using your voice and movements in front of a big screen.

It really is the place to be for dog lovers.

In St. Louis, the museum’s attendance had been dwindling and there was a desire to unite the AKC and its own collection with the museum, museum officials said.

New York City was the next big step, according to Brandi T. Hunter, the AKC vice president of public relations and communications.

“The AKC Museum of the Dog has one of the most beautiful collections of dog art in the world,” she said. “For years it was cared for and appreciated in St. Louis County, but we decided it was time to display this wonderful collection in one of the world’s finest destinations for art.”

If you go: Tickets are $15 for adults, $5 for children younger than 12 and $10 for students, seniors, youth and military/veterans.

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